After a week of wetting, scraping and peeling wallpaper off the four upstairs bedrooms, bathroom and sitting room the antique plaster walls were revealed. And to our surprise, namely my Dad who is a mason by trade, the plaster underneath was in excellent condition only needing minor touch-ups to fill in cracks and holes.
Plain water works best to remove wallpaper if you are sensitive to the chemical softeners found in many of the store brand wallpaper removers. You’ll find to that slipping your scraper underneath dry wallpaper will lift it directly off the wall before needing to wet it as the old paste has most likely dislodged and lost it’s stickiness. It’s best to take as much off before wetting it. Simply fill your paint tray with warm water and using a paint roller, roll the water beginning at the bottom of the wall and roll on up to the top. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and repeat that process until you can easily peel or scrape off a layer or two.
This will work well unless their is plastic or vinyl in the wallpaper. And seeing as most antique wallpapers were rolled on walls using a homemade paste, water will soften that paste easily. Even the newer wallpapers after the removal of the initial vinyl layer it will soften and peel quite easily once soaked with water.
There was this section of the original wallpaper that didn’t seem to want to come off. I decided to leave it there as it’s beautiful. It was created by Stanton and is entitled Blossom Time (Circa 1910). Last weekend I rummaged through a huge village wide yard sale in Hampton and purchased an antique frame to frame that area of wallpaper with. There is something special about preserving what was once there; in homage.
Directly to the left of Blossom Time we found a secret door that was sealed. We originally thought it could have been a window but as we continued scraping and glanced down at the floor trim we realized it was door and not a window. We don’t know why it was blocked and someday I may install a door there to create a second floor deck on top of the first floor sunroom. That is why the second floor appears odd in this outside shot.
After the wallpaper was removed we began sanding with household kitchen scrubbies that you do dishes with to remove any picks and stray pieces of paper before priming.
After priming the walls we painted the trim, doors and banister with white semi-gloss latex. I spent 8 hours one day painting the trim and doors of two bedrooms with oil based primer. I could not for the life of me figure out why my stomach was turning nor why the fumes were so intense if this was indeed water based latex. It looked the same wet. Not until it dried and Dad came up to see me did we realize I was using the wrong paint. I had been complaining all day to Dad and my brother who were downstairs taking out cupboards in the kitchen that the fumes sucked and they just looked at me funny saying “Latex does not smell”. So, I laboured away getting high and sick…
I’m looking forward to moving in. There is no estimated date of when this will happen. We began doing the hardwood floors over and it’s really the last thing to do and I’ll post about that soon. I also dearly miss working in my shop and creating art.
The dotted lines are signed as of May 28, 2009, the keys handed over and all is well in my new home except for the decades worth of wallpaper that I’m removing from three of the upstairs bedrooms. It normally doesn’t come off as easy as this wall did. In fact, this was the only wall that peeled in this way. Each and every other wall is painstakingly tedious to wet, scrape, peel, wet, scrape, peel…
I’ll officially be moving in on June 9th when the kitchen appliances and beds I ordered arrive.
And add to the stress of non-smoking and buying a house; I’ve had my period for 8 days straight. I’m tired. I know it’s due to having an IUD. I will be going to doctor soon to get it taken out. This is an ongoing monthly issue for me that seems to be getting worse as the months progress since having the copper IUD inserted 2.5 years ago.
I can’t wait to set my studio up!
I woke today to find that my art is featured in 11 treasuries. There is a site called Craftopolis that lets you see the current treasuries you are featured in on Etsy. Hope you’ll visit each one or stop by the shop to say hi!